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Monday 19 March 2018

Power outages won't hit hospitals

Brendan Ogle
Brendan Ogle
Allison Bray

Allison Bray

HOSPITALS will continue to operate as usual using back-up generators in the event of power cuts if ESB workers go on strike later this month.

As the threatened deadline for industrial action looms in just over a fortnight's time, the Health Service Executive (HSE) last night said it would put its major emergency plan into action in the event of any power outages.

"The HSE has major emergency plans in place across the health system to manage any major emergencies, including those caused by breakdown in utility services," an HSE spokesman told the Irish Independent.

He made the comments as talks between management and unions representing ESB workers continued at the weekend after the ESB group of unions – including SIPTU, the TEEU and Unite – vowed that power cuts would be "inevitable" unless an agreement over a €1.6bn pension scheme deficit was reached before the December 16 deadline.

Neither officials from the ESB nor the group of unions responded to queries from the Irish Independent on the talks last night.

However, an oddly upbeat sounding message left on the answer phone of Unite union spokesman Brendan Ogle said the group of unions were engaged in "sensitive" discussions over the dispute and would not be issuing any statements – adding that if there is any disruption "the ESB will be completely responsible".

Meanwhile, Age Action spokesman Eamon Timmins said the senior citizens lobby group is urging older people to plan ahead in the event of a strike.

"We don't want to scare people," he told the Irish Independent last night.

"But we have to plan for the worst."

Irish Independent

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